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Cowboys seeking 'bigger bodies' to bolster Mike Zimmer's defense 

The Dallas Cowboys scouting department is spending the week at the NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis preparing to overhaul a defense behind new coordinator Mike Zimmer.

Zimmer ran some of the top-tier defenses in the NFL during his stints as DC in Dallas (2000-2006), Cincinnati (2008-2013), and head coach in Minnesota (2014-2021). However, his scheme differs from the aggressive attacking style Dan Quinn employed with the Cowboys. Quinn's defensive produced big plays and turnovers, but wasn't always the most consistent, particularly against the run.

With Zimmer taking over in Big D, Cowboys vice president of player personnel, Will McClay, is out to find playmakers who fit the new defense in 2024.

"As we begin this process, it's a little different scheme," McClay recently told the team's official website. "We're looking for big, athletic football players. Finding guys that have those little nuances that  [Zimmer] has. It's been great for us to spend time with the coaches and hear them talk to players and communicate so we can get a better feel for what that is as well."

McClay noted that Zimmer's scheme calls for bigger bodies, and the Cowboys own a glaring hole at linebacker -- one that would have needed filling regardless of who ran the defense.

"I think we're probably going to look more so at those bigger bodies at the inside, stopping that," he said. "We're always looking at linebackers. That's a position that in free agency and in the draft that we're going to have to look at because we want to add more players there."

Jerry Jones said earlier this offseason the Cowboys planned to go "all-in" after last season's failure. Part of that strategy will include bolstering a defense gashed in the playoff loss to Green Bay. Given Dallas' financial situation (currently over the cap), those upgrades could be held until the 2024 NFL Draft in late April, which makes McClay's time in Indy all the more critical.

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